The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District and the Clean Air Rooms program are offering free air purifiers to residents in disadvantaged communities to help reduce the harmful effects of wildfire smoke.
“An air purifier is a device that uses an advanced filter to clean the air and reduce the amount of airborne particulates so as dust and smog,” said Gustavo Aguirre, Climate and Environmental Justice Associate Director at the Central California Asthma Collaborative (CCAC). “By reducing the amount of airborne toxins and particulates in the air that could be created by indoor or outdoor activities.”
All resources are free, but there is a limited amount of air purifiers so it will be a first come first serve application process.
“The Clean Air Rooms is, as they say, a fruit of our labor in the environmental justice movement. Via the AB-617 program, Central Valley residents uplifted the fact that they needed access to ‘Clean Air’ right away and couldn’t wait for an industry to make forced changes and accomplish breathable air at the neighborhood level,” said Aguirre.
Aguirre stated that similar work has started in other AB 617 communities already.
“In Shafter and other AB 617 communities, we developed this program work, however, only for AB 617 communities. With this CAR program, we the Valley Air District are able to extend this program Valley-Wide. Meaning, anyone in a DAC / Disadvantage Community is able and encouraged to apply.”
This program is valuable because the air quality in the central valley has been a concern to public health experts for a long time. This program will provide much-needed relief for families to breathe cleaner air in their homes.
“Families should apply to this program because it will be able to provide homes with cleaner air and take the stress off whether or not the air inside the home is cleaner or dirtier than the outside air. Unfortunately, we know that oftentimes air inside a home can be more toxic than the outside air,” said Aguirre.
Anyone in the Valley that lives in a disadvantaged community can apply by filling out the application at valleyair.org/roompurifier or by calling 559-230-5800. A disadvantaged community is determined by some of the following criteria: Poverty rates, air and water quality, access to green spaces, and walkability among other things.
Aguirre said these air purifiers will help the community and its residents by reducing and purifying the indoor air quality, although it does not affect outdoor air quality, it will improve air quality, especially during agricultural practices and wildfire seasons.
“This program is a direct result of community advocacy and a result of tangible actions by community requests,” said Aguirre.